Spaceship

A spaceship or space vessel is any type of manned spacecraft capable of traveling in space, by the means of space normal or warp speeds. Specifically, a spaceship is capable of achieving or leaving a planet's orbit. (ENT: "The Communicator")

The term was commonly used during the 19th and 20th centuries to describe any sort of space vessel. (TNG: "Up The Long Ladder", "Time's Arrow, Part II"; VOY: "Future's End, Part II", "Thirty Days"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

The Earth-Romulan War, which occurred during the mid-22nd century, was fought, with primitive atomic weapons and in what was later viewed as primitive space vessels that allowed no quarter, no captives, nor ship-to-ship visual communication. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

By the 23rd century, the term spaceship was generally used to describe non-Starfleet vessels, in which case the term starship was used. (TOS: "Bread and Circuses") Nevertheless, such Starfleet vessels were described as spaceships, in instances where a culture was not familiar with said technology. (ENT: "Storm Front, Part II"; TAS: "One of Our Planets Is Missing"; Star Trek: First Contact)

By the 24th century, the term "starship" was colloquially used to describe most space vessel types, whereas shuttles would be referred to as auxiliary space vessels. (TNG: "Unnatural Selection") A spacecraft is a vehicle, vessel or machine designed to fly in outer space. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo.

On a sub-orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters space and then returns to the surface, without having gone into an orbit. For orbital spaceflights, spacecraft enter closed orbits around the Earth or around other celestial bodies. Spacecraft used for human spaceflight carry people on board as crew or passengers from start or on orbit (space stations) only, while those used for robotic space missions operate either autonomously or telerobotically. Robotic spacecraft used to support scientific research are space probes. Robotic spacecraft that remain in orbit around a planetary body are artificial satellites. Only a handful of interstellar probes, such as Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, and New Horizons, are currently on trajectories that leave our Solar System.

Orbital spacecraft may be recoverable or not. By method of reentry to Earth they may be divided in non-winged space capsules and winged spaceplanes.

Currently, only twenty-four nations have spaceflight technology: Russia (Roscosmos, the Russian Space Forces), the United States (NASA, the US Air Force, SpaceX (a U.S private aerospace company)), the member states of the European Space Agency, the People's Republic of China (China National Space Administration), Japan (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and India (Indian Space Research Organisation).

Spacecraft and space travel are common themes in works of science fiction.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License